About Us

Restaurant

Located in the heart of Lexington Center, il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar is a restaurant from Chef Dante de Magistris and his brothers Damian de Magistris and Filippo de Magistris. il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar continues the story of il Casale Cucina Italiana that began in Belmont five years ago, but is a tour around the Campania region of Italy where the de Magistris family hails from.

Nestled in the lush hills and valleys of the mountainous region of Irpinia lies their hometown village, Candida, where recipes survive only by word of mouth or at best are scratched on distressed pieces of paper hidden between the pages of a bible or an old phone book.

It is in a kitchen in the countryside of Candida where Chef Dante’s culinary path began, learning century old recipes from his Nonna that have been handed down through the generations. The menu at il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar features these closely guarded family dishes combined with the skill and technique Chef Dante learned in his years under the auspices of Michelen Star Chef Don Alfonso in Sant’ Agata sui Due Golfi atop the Sorrentine peninsula and the spirit of the epicurean rich streets of Naples.

il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar is a celebration of Southern Italy. The menu showcases classic sfizi and the fresh pasta dishes that Chef Dante has become known for, while introducing new selections of Neapolitan street food, baked pasta and authentic seafood dishes that are prevalent in the Campania region. il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar pours Italian wine, beer, aperitivi and cocktails that have been reimagined with Southern Italian flair. Guests are nourished not only by the cuisine, but by the full dining experience that delights the senses.

il Casale Cucina Campana features an open kitchen clad with imported hand painted tiles from Vietri that evoke the blue glow of the Amalfi coast. The space is as warming as the cuisine with rich tones juxtaposed against classic Italian country furnishings made from reclaimed barn wood and rustic metal ambient lighting pendants. A vintage map of the Campania region fills a floor to ceiling wall that is at the end of an 18 seat Carrara marble bar. il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar celebrates the ties to family and the roots from which they come, and Chef Dante and his brothers Filippo and Damian welcome each and every guest as an extension of the de Magistris family.

Chef Dante

Dante de Magistris is the Chef and Co-Owner of il Casale in Lexington, Massachusetts as well as il Casale in Belmont and Restaurant dante in Cambridge.

Raised in an Italian-American home in the Boston suburb of Belmont, Dante de Magistris always loved to cook. At the age of four, the Belmont Fire Department responded to the de Magistris home to put out a kitchen blaze created when the budding chef attempted to prepare stovetop eggs in Tupperware. His talent and technique evolved with age and by the age of 18 Dante was prepared to take his career to the next level.

Dante’s culinary journey is packed with unique and impressive experiences, including a sojourn in Italy, where he not only honed his own skills but touched the lives of those he met along the way.

After culinary stints in Bologna and Florence, the young chef made his way to the Amalfi Coast, where he debuted as sous-chef at Ristorante Don Alfonso. What happened next is the stuff of legends.

The chefs left Dante in charge while they traveled to France. While they were away, Michelin came to visit. The young “understudy” helped the restaurant win its third star in their absence, and won rave reviews of his own.

Returning to Boston with no shortage of praise and respect from his colleagues, Dante found himself working alongside some of Boston’s finest chefs, including: Michael Schlow at Café Louis, Eric Brennan at The Federalist, Lydia Shire, Susan Regis, and Daniele Baliani at Pignoli. However, it was at Micheala Larson’s blu in The Sports Club/LA, located in Boston’s Ladder District, that Dante mastered the art of sophisticated simplicity, turning blu into a major destination for discerning diners.

In 2006, Dante, along with his brothers Filippo and Damian, opened Restaurant dante in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to critical acclaim from Food & Wine and O Magazine, as well as being named one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s “Hot 10 Restaurants” of 2006, Boston Globe Magazine’s “Best of the New” for 2007 and winning Boston Magazine’s coveted “Best of Boston” award for Best Italian Restaurant in 2008.

At Restaurant dante, de Magistris has flawlessly established his culinary paradiso as one of the premier dining destinations in Boston.

Located in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Restaurant dante takes a fresh, modern approach to traditional Italian cuisine with Chef de Magistris’ unique use of ingredients, innovative techniques and invigorating twists on Italian classic.

A true family affair, Dante works with his brothers at his side every day. Co-owning brothers Damian and Filippo are the General Managers at il Casale and Restaurant dante respectively, overseeing all aspects of each restaurant.

In April 2009, Dante and his brothers joined forces again, combining their expertise in food, wine and stellar service, to open il Casale in their hometown of Belmont. In a stroke of poetic justice; the rustic cucina Italiana is located in the old fire house which once housed the department that had responded to the blaze in his family’s home when Dante was a child.

il Casale’s talented team has perfected century-old de Magistris family recipes and created a menu that is equal parts traditional Italian comfort food and exclusive family classics. Separated into Sfizi (small tastes), Primi (appetizers), Secondi (entrees), Contorni (sides) and Dolce (dessert), il Casale’s menu is designed to create a culinary experience reminiscent of the way the brothers were taught to dine by their Grandmother.

Dante’s following as well as the extraordinary success of the de Magistris brothers premiere establishment, made il Casale amongst the most anticipated openings of the year. In the first months of being open, il Casale earned the attention and praise of national and local culinary critics, including being named in Esquire Magazine list of “15 Places Not to Miss”, and earning an almost unheard-of three and a half out of four stars from the Boston Globe’s Devra First, an A- from the Boston Herald’s Mat Schaffer, and two Best of Boston awards from Boston Magazine.

Press

A New il Casale Opens in Lexington This Spring

“During Pizza Week 2014, Dante de Magistris told Eater that he was working on a stuffed, fried pizza for the new location. It could be stuffed with braised chicory, anchovies, pine nuts, raisins, then fried and served with two dipping sauces: lemon mascarpone and spicy roasted tomato puree.”

Eater Boston, April 2014
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Lexington’s Il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar begins construction

“His Belmont restaurant, Il Casale Cucina Italiana + Bar, focuses on food throughout Italy. As the name suggests, this branch is different: Here, he’ll spotlight food from Campania, with a Neapolitan emphasis. Construction begins next Monday, de Magistris says. Stay tuned.”

Boston.com, February 2014
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